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Re: POLL, South Korea's hygiene standards
« Reply #100 on: July 22, 2021, 03:33:48 pm »
At best I would call Korea a somewhat developed nation.



I don't agree with Gandhi's quote 100%, but I think that kind of attitude check is needed among the people here who presume to sit in judgment of the nations and peoples of the world.


Re: POLL, South Korea's hygiene standards
« Reply #101 on: July 22, 2021, 04:06:12 pm »
The essence of Korean hygiene is found in the fact that down the street from my apartment on a busy street in Daegu, there was a restaurant that had, lying outside year round, giant plastic bowls full of pig faces sitting in water.

Or the fact that in hospitals there often wasn't soap. First Korean hospital I went to had a bathroom where the sinks were ripped out for maintenance, but they still let people shit in the toilets without having sinks to wash their hands afterwards. IN A HOSPITAL.


  • fka
  • Expert Waygook

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    • September 05, 2019, 06:37:44 pm
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Re: POLL, South Korea's hygiene standards
« Reply #102 on: July 22, 2021, 04:08:55 pm »
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But these things do have to be taken as a whole as well. Yes, you can focus on a specific practice, but if you also don't look comprehensively at everything, then one has to wonder why you're focusing on a specific issue and not any others.

That's fine in principle. But "looking comprehensively at everything" too often manifests as "You failed to bring up this random thing that I just introduced, you hypocrites."

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From my perspective, the spitting thing is a bit like ranting about gun crime in Chicago and getting angry that anyone is pointing out broader issues that relate to it.

I don't agree with this at all. If I went to a neighborhood in Sydney, London, Dublin, Seattle, Toronto, Cape Town or Auckland where, several times a day, I'd witness someone noisily dredge up mucous and then spray it in public with little regard for where it landed, I'd think, WTF is with all this spitting? It's disgusting.

Do you really think most other people who complain about spitting in Korea wouldn't react like that? Do you think they'd  be more or less likely to excuse it based on the spitters' ethnicity? I've seen nothing to suggest that's the case.

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Pet dogs defecating in the street IS NOT unrelated to the issue of people spitting in the street and cleanliness and hygiene.

Uh-huh. We've been through this already. Pigeon droppings, litter, stray cats and other issues may also relate to street cleanliness. If there's a conversation about spitting and I contribute with "You simple-minded, culturally insular hypocrites haven't mentioned pigeons yet!", that doesn't excuse the spitting. The existence of B doesn't invalidate an argument against A.

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Then we also have to ask, given that almost no Koreans read this board and we have virtually zero influence over Korean society, why are the rants here almost exclusively aimed at Koreans?

Because this is a website built by and for foreigners living in Korea. It's therefore rather predictable that some complaints will reflect frustrations foreigners have with Korea. I've stuck up for you about this in the past. I agree that some of the posts are quite unreasonable, or tend toward weird generalizations about Koreans when the offending party just happens to be a Korean individual. I've given those posts the mockery they were due. Some of the time you're right.

It's a stretch, though, to say that every (or nearly every) complaint is motivated by ethnic animus when Koreans make the same complaints. About the spitting, I've posted quotes from Koreans, using exactly the kind of language that people use on here. If you took the quotes in isolation and didn't attach an identity to them, you could easily think they came from a foreigners' forum. Still, though, you seem to have a hard time accepting that the exact complaints made by Koreans can't be made by foreigners without some ulterior motive. Until you can resolve this, I guess we'll just keep going around in circles.

Most people, given the opportunity and resources, would choose to live in an area with clean streets, free of litter, spit, dog waste and cigarette butts. Whether you're in Nairobi or New York, wealthier neighborhoods are cleaner. That's because those with the luxury of choice universally seem to prefer a cleaner environment. Korea has some infrastructural problems related to garbage collection, but there is no logistical impediment to less spit and cigarettes on the street, only social and cultural. It's a problem that could be fixed through empathy and consideration - no costs involved. The fact that a cleaner environment is within reach, save for the lack of empathy and consideration shown by so many people, is a perfectly valid basis for complaint.




Re: POLL, South Korea's hygiene standards
« Reply #103 on: July 22, 2021, 05:21:38 pm »
That's fine in principle. But "looking comprehensively at everything" too often manifests as "You failed to bring up this random thing that I just introduced, you hypocrites."
You call it random, but often it is a blind spot.

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I don't agree with this at all. If I went to a neighborhood in Sydney, London, Dublin, Seattle, Toronto, Cape Town or Auckland where, several times a day, I'd witness someone noisily dredge up mucous and then spray it in public with little regard for where it landed, I'd think, WTF is with all this spitting? It's disgusting.
But would you make it about Australians or Brits or Irish or Zulus or Maori or would you make it about the individual?

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If there's a conversation about spitting and I contribute with "You simple-minded, culturally insular hypocrites haven't mentioned pigeons yet!", that doesn't excuse the spitting. The existence of B doesn't invalidate an argument against A.
But it does if they are focusing on something at the exclusion of something else or not properly balancing risk. "I'm concerned about Islamic Terrorism" is a point, but it's also fair to point out that you have a far greater likelihood of dying in a car accident than being beheaded by some Jihadi and that maybe people are doing a poor job of assessing risk and threat.

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Because this is a website built by and for foreigners living in Korea. It's therefore rather predictable that some complaints will reflect frustrations foreigners have with Korea. I've stuck up for you about this in the past. I agree that some of the posts are quite unreasonable, or tend toward weird generalizations about Koreans when the offending party just happens to be a Korean individual. I've given those posts the mockery they were due. Some of the time you're right.
Thank you.

Would you also agree that it seems to disproportionately focus on Koreans? Would you also agree that if someone were to criticize NETs, particularly if the person was Korean, that the reaction would be rather agitated and that many of the same things people accuse me of doing would be said to that person?

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It's a stretch, though, to say that every (or nearly every) complaint is motivated by ethnic animus when Koreans make the same complaints.
I don't think they all are or even the majority. I do think a sizable number are though. I think it's rather clear too.


  • fka
  • Expert Waygook

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    • September 05, 2019, 06:37:44 pm
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Re: POLL, South Korea's hygiene standards
« Reply #104 on: July 23, 2021, 08:34:09 am »
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But would you make it about Australians or Brits or Irish or Zulus or Maori or would you make it about the individual?

If it appeared to be a widespread phenomenon peculiar to the culture, I would make it about Australians or Brits or whatever... If it was a sporadic occurrence that seemed unique to that individual, I would make it about the individual. I don't know if you're aware, but there are lots of Facebook groups and web forums for Americans in the UK, for example, or Brits in Australia, Irish in America, etc., etc. Do you think that critical comments are softer and more nuanced because those countries have a majority ethnic group in common? That hasn't been my experience.

You often make analogies along the lines of "What if forum members said ______ about black people?" I understand why you do this, and in some cases it's possibly a useful thought experiment. But living side-by-side with neighbors of a different ethnicity in your own country is a very different experience to living in a foreign country where you're part of an ethnic, linguistic and cultural minority. I'm white and I've lived in majority Latino neighborhoods in the US, and a majority South Asian area in the UK. Both of those situations were different from each other, and don't map directly onto my experience living in Korea. When people living about complain about their host country, I think they're owed the benefit of the doubt that there are more factors than ethnicity that influence their perspective. If you're a white person in America, complaining about black people... then yeah, I think it's safe to assume that you're exclusively focused on ethnicity.

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You call it random, but often it is a blind spot.

You once posted a defense of whataboutism, articulating what it's supposed to achieve when used effectively (can't find the original post, sorry). As far as I recall, though, you didn't address what happens when it doesn't work. To stick with the spitting example, for some 7+ years you've been making counterarguments when foreigners complain about Koreans spitting, even when they use the same language as Koreans to make their case. Those counterarguments range from "Well, there are things worse than spitting in inner-city America" to "Dogs pee" to "Shaking hands also spreads germs". Do you think that this has convinced anyone that loudly dredging up mucous and flinging it on the sidewalk is not a disgusting, antisocial and unsanitary practice? Do you think one person has been moved by these arguments? (By the way, if anyone has, you're welcome to speak up here...)

When you build your argument around exposing a weakness in an opponent's, you risk committing a kind of meta-fallacy that I like to call The Logicbro's Spent Wad. This happens when identifying a formal fallacy or bias becomes an end in itself. The person doing this often declares victory in the debate, simply for having spotted a vulnerability in the opposing position, without having successfully justified their own. It might well be the case that Person A said something irrational, or incomplete, but that doesn't automatically bolster the argument of Person B. He or she still needs to make a better argument. I don't think you've done this in the case of spitting. None of what you said makes me feel any better about walking behind someone who's just summoned up a big gob of phlegm and launched it at my feet, or left a big puddle at the entrance of my building. The fact that my disgust may not be evenly balanced with a dog squirting on a fire hydrant, and this may indicate some degree of less-than-perfect rationality, really is irrelevant. It's a completely unmoving argument. Objections to A aren't automatically invalidated by the existence of B.

If your point is, "Humans sometimes display irrational tendencies" or "People don't consider every possible variable when they come to a conclusion", then fine, maybe your take on spitting can serve as an example. But again, I think you'll find almost universal, cross-cultural consensus that most humans would rather inhabit an urban environment with less spit, not more. So as an argument for why people should stop complaining about Koreans spitting, your approach doesn't work.
« Last Edit: July 23, 2021, 09:18:57 am by fka »


Re: POLL, South Korea's hygiene standards
« Reply #105 on: July 23, 2021, 12:59:48 pm »
If it appeared to be a widespread phenomenon peculiar to the culture, I would make it about Australians or Brits or whatever...
I would tend to defer to blaming the individual if something isn't in +80% practice. Even if you see it as "widespread" that can be very subjective and I don't think it's widespread enough to blame "Koreans" vs. individuals.

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But living side-by-side with neighbors of a different ethnicity in your own country is a very different experience to living in a foreign country where you're part of an ethnic, linguistic and cultural minority. I'm white and I've lived in majority Latino neighborhoods in the US, and a majority South Asian area in the UK. Both of those situations were different from each other, and don't map directly onto my experience living in Korea.
No, but it is similar. If you are immersed in black or Latino culture on a daily basis and the people you deal with constantly are black or Latino, would it still be right to make such comments? Of course not! If you moved to Puerto Rico or Ghana it wouldn't be right (or at least very eyebrow raising).

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I think they're owed the benefit of the doubt that there are more factors than ethnicity that influence their perspective.
It's pretty easy to spot the difference between say, confused newbie or even-handed person raising an issue vs. waygook.orger who is posting their umpteenth rant and blast.

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Do you think that this has convinced anyone that loudly dredging up mucous and flinging it on the sidewalk is not a disgusting, antisocial and unsanitary practice? Do you think one person has been moved by these arguments? (By the way, if anyone has, you're welcome to speak up here...)
My point isn't that it's disgusting. It's to point out the inconsistency in disgust and to make the person question whether there is a rational basis for that disgust or whether that disgust is arbitrary. Furthermore, the claim is often made of sanitation/public health NOT disgust. It is only after the obvious hypocrisy on the sanitation/public health question is acknowledged, that the argument transitions to disgust (which is what it really is about in the first place. Public health was just a convenient tool).

You know what no one ever says? The REAL reason they think it's okay for owners to let their pets dogs piss and shit on the street and a Korean person who spits is scum: They like dogs more than Koreans. Now, as inflammatory as that sounds, lets be reasonable and acknowledge that a lot of people like animals more than average humans of any persuasion. When one is associated with cuteness and hugs and the other is associated with everything from nuclear war to psycho SO, you're going to get different impulsive reactions.

But at the end of the day, the person should step back and acknowledge they're being arbitrary and agree that "Either A) I should hold both spitters AND pet owners to account or B) I should let both slide". That is the rational response. The irrational response is to refuse to acknowledge that point and to rant about me being an apologist.

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None of what you said makes me feel any better about walking behind someone who's just summoned up a big gob of phlegm and launched it at my feet, or left a big puddle at the entrance of my building. The fact that my disgust may not be evenly balanced with a dog squirting on a fire hydrant, and this may indicate some degree of less-than-perfect rationality, really is irrelevant. It's a completely unmoving argument.
What you don't recognize is that when you focus only on one single group and don't commit to the problem as a whole, people will assume, quite justifiably, that really your target is that group and not "public cleanliness and health" or whatever claim the person made. What I am essentially asking is for the person to put up or shut up- Either you really believe this public cleanliness and health stuff or you don't. And when they just argue and not agree, I think it becomes self-evident that really they just wanted to rant about Koreans, NOT make the situation better.

A person who is genuinely worried about public cleanliness would also have the same disgust towards dogs and spitting (actually to Aristocrat's credit, I think he has ranted about dogs before too). They'd freely agree with my point and be like "Hell yeah, I think they're disgusting too!" Then I can understand what their motives are.

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But again, I think you'll find almost universal, cross-cultural consensus that most humans would rather inhabit an urban environment with less spit, not more. So as an argument for why people should stop complaining about Koreans spitting, your approach doesn't work.
Again, see above. It really comes down to sussing out what someone really thinks underneath. To give a parallel example, it's why a lot of Pro-Choicers don't buy Pro-Life claims that they care about life when they don't support funding for child care and health and so on. "If you're Pro-Life, shouldn't you be..." It's why Catholics who are against the Death Penalty, Abortion, anti-nuclear weapons and pro-social welfare come across as much more credible vs. Protestants who are against Abortion but also pro-death penalty and pro-war. And while sometimes people place impossible demands on the other side, other times it is true that inconsistency shows that something is off.

Also, one other goal is that I hope it stops the boiling anger and disgust. I know that feeling and that anger. But one thing that helped me avoid that kind of irrational hate and anger, and I had to learn this, was remembering either personal or societal flaws of my own kind. Case in point this whole pandemic. There's been more than a few situations where I either saw an individual Korean person or some government rule or whatever and I started getting angry in my head and doing a self-rant, but you know what calms me down? The reminder that from a Korean's perspective, my country looks like a disaster and maybe I shouldn't throw too many stones. If I'm going to rant to them about spitting and being dirty, is that really going to work after us Americans and the Koreans have had the results we have had in the biggest crisis humanity has collectively faced since the nuclear apocalypse threat of the Cold War? Am I really in a place to bitch and moan and tell them they're stupid and dirty?

Like, shouldn't this entire event have been a massive check on the assumptions of many regarding Koreans and their society? This country thinks its doing a bad job because 1,700 people a day are getting infected. Like, come on. At the very least, maybe we should tone things down a notch? Maybe not be quite so certain in our takes? Maybe be a bit more accepting of some counters to our points?

And my core point with all of it was this- Hasn't this pandemic proved that our concerns over certain Korean sanitation practices were dramatically overblown? And also, aren't some of the things we think protect us, maybe aren't as effective as we think they are? And now, to add, maybe some of our practices need to be scrutinized for being filthy.


  • OnNut81
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Re: POLL, South Korea's hygiene standards
« Reply #106 on: July 23, 2021, 01:17:12 pm »
I would tend to defer to blaming the individual if something isn't in +80% practice. Even if you see it as "widespread" that can be very subjective and I don't think it's widespread enough to blame "Koreans" vs. individuals.


Here it is; the biggest lie ever told on this site.  And there have been some impressive loads of B.S. thrown up here.  Martino, you have blamed westerners as a group on here based on a single poster's comments far more times than I have ever even posted.  Your credibility didn't have far to fall but how did you even type those sentences let alone hit "Post?"  If you had to ask someone to pick one person who blames the culture or nationality over the individual, people would say Demartino before you could even finish the question.  How many times have we all been labelled as "entitled westerners" because of one person's comments?  You never blame the individual when you have the chance to shoot down an entire society.  Unbelievable horsesh*t. 

I couldn't bother reading anything beyond that first part. 


Re: POLL, South Korea's hygiene standards
« Reply #107 on: July 23, 2021, 01:44:37 pm »
Here it is; the biggest lie ever told on this site.  And there have been some impressive loads of B.S. thrown up here.  Martino, you have blamed westerners as a group on here based on a single poster's comments far more times than I have ever even posted.  Your credibility didn't have far to fall but how did you even type those sentences let alone hit "Post?"  If you had to ask someone to pick one person who blames the culture or nationality over the individual, people would say Demartino before you could even finish the question.  How many times have we all been labelled as "entitled westerners" because of one person's comments?  You never blame the individual when you have the chance to shoot down an entire society.  Unbelievable horsesh*t. 

I couldn't bother reading anything beyond that first part. 
Post examples and I will discuss.


Re: POLL, South Korea's hygiene standards
« Reply #108 on: Yesterday at 06:29:31 am »
While KimchiNinja's point is a trollish one, he is right about one thing…

If you aren't flinging the same level of hate and rage towards hand shakers as you are spitters or dish sharers, then you're just being at best completely arbitrary, at worst you're a bigot.

You always do this peculiar and unnecessarily hostile thing of wholesale dismissing my value as a forum member, and then agreeing with my comments. Surely you will have some long pedantic “reasoning” for this, which we don’t need to hear.

Anyhow, you correctly checkmate the entire thread by piggybacking on my post—anyone who is not consistently applying hygiene: shoes in the house and hand shaking, is a cultural supremacist/evangelical and a bigot (what else would it be?). Travel is an opportunity to shatter these biases.


  • fka
  • Expert Waygook

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    • September 05, 2019, 06:37:44 pm
    • Seoul
Re: POLL, South Korea's hygiene standards
« Reply #109 on: Yesterday at 10:18:11 am »
Oh, Martino is very consistent when it comes to Koreans being defamed. For example, if an American presidential candidate stood in front of a cheering crowd and promised to impose a ban on all Koreans entering the United States, that candidate would probably come under fire for appealing to xenophobia and prejudice. However, because his positions are so consistent, we know that Martino would chastise not the candidate but his critics. Why? Because those critics don't have any business skills and they don't understand "The Big Ask" (start with something unrealistically ambitious, then negotiate down). Someone calling for a blanket ban on Koreans entering another country should praised for their street smarts and political nous, not condemned for promoting xenophobia. Right?